Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Lessons from the Real Housewives

Its no secret that one of my guilty pleasures is watching all of the "Real Housewives of ____" on Bravo. My favorite is OC, followed closely by the ladies of NJ. Right now, BH and ATL are running their seasons.

Bahahaha I just noticed my use of acronyms, can you tell I'm a military wife?

Okay back to the important stuff, Real Housewives and their so-called reality. We all know the show isn't totally real and these women are pretty damn dramatic but this all makes for good TV. I know most people connect to the characters on these shows by finding parallels between their lives and their own. Alot of people identify with Jacqueline from NJ because of her struggles with fertility. Or Brandi from BH because of her (now ex) spouse's, very public infidelity. Or the dynamic of the sisterly bond between Gina and Caroline on NJ. For myself, I just watch the shows to get my dose of drama. I don't like it so much in real life, but for an hour I will live vicariously through these women to get my fill.

Usually these women find themselves in situations that I will probably never ever get myself into. Like selling stories to the tabloids about my friends. Or getting sued for slander. Or being accused of making a copycat booty workout video. Maybe the closest I would get would be eating a piece of cake before it had been ceremoniously cut...haha! 

Well after watching an episode of RHOBV, I found myself thinking, "Hey I've been in that situation before and I am glad I did not handle it the way she did!". To sum up this catfight, these two women were friends (Brandi & Adrienne) and for some reason or another the friendship started going bad. Then because of her bitter feelings Brandi revealed some big secret about Adrienne, something so secret that lawyers are involved.

I think we have all been there, the ending of a friendship. It happens for many different reasons and sometimes they are are quite dramatic. I had what I thought to be a very close friendship end very suddenly. Both of our feelings were hurt. But instead of turning this into a reality TV situation, I kept my mouth shut despite what other parties involved were doing. Whatever secrets or confidences were told to me when we were friends, I kept it that way despite our friendship dissolving. I am adult and I am aware that whatever comes out of my mouth is a reflection of me. That is what you should have done Ms. Brandi from RHOBV. When Adrienne told you that secret, it was because you were close friends. Just because the friendship ends doesn't mean you can run around telling those secrets, even if you feel like Adrienne had wronged you or was running her mouth.

*NEWSFLASH* When you gossip about someone else, it only temporarily makes you feel better. In the long run though, it makes you look worse and you will feel that way too. 

When you open your mouth and air out someone else's dirty laundry, you are the one that looks like an a**. Why would anyone trust you after so publicly telling someone else's business? Instead of making her look like a fool and gaining sympathy points for yourself, it backfired and you are the one that looks likes an idiot. At least now I know what would have happened had I decided to run around town telling my ex-bestie's darkest secrets. I mean, I doubt she would have lawyered up but I get the gist of it.

So thank you Real Housewives for showing my how NOT to deal with situations. I love love love the drama on your shows but not-so-much in my real life. 


Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Letter To My Brother

Hey Matt, hows it going? Today has been a good day. Hubs didn't have duty, so he was able to stay at home with Little Miss while I did my couponing 'rounds. I did alot of "people watching" when I was out and about, especially when I was at WalMart. Man, some of the people that shop there are quite....entertaining to say the least. During my people watching today, it got me thinking. Every time I see a young teenaged guy, it reminds me of you. Well, maybe not every time, but most of the time there is something in these young kids that makes me think you. Its hard to put my finger on exactly, but its just the look or the expression on their faces. I don't know if its just teenage angst or what, but there is some quality that reminds me of you

You have led quite the opposite style of life than me. You have been involved with buying and selling drugs, stealing from family (myself included), friends, strangers, and a church. Your drug addiction goes all the way back to your high school years. I probably haven't seen you sober for 10 years now, however even in your drug addicted state I have witnessed a few moments of clarity. 

It would be so easy to just put you out of my mind and write you off as another junkie serving time in jail. But you are my brother, how can I just forget about the kid we used to put in dresses and feed dog food? My fondest memories growing up include you. Its just so hard to give up on you. It has been a process, learning how to love you from a distance. Letting you get close means making myself vulnerable to being hurt and let down because lets face it, kicking a drug addiction isn't easy. It has been over a decade and you still haven't cleaned up. You have been arrested, served time in jail, lost custody of your daughter, have lived on the streets, no life changing experience has caused you to kick the habit yet. And soon my nephew, your son, will be born. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't worry about my niece or nephew. Not that they are in any sort of danger right now, but its a worry about their future. Will your chaotic life cause me to miss my niece growing up? I feel like I have missed so much already. Little Miss often asks if we are going to see her cousin or asks if she can talk to her. I want nothing more than for them to grow up together, we grew up far away from all of our cousins so I would love for Little Miss to grow up surrounded by extended family. But because of your choices and addiction, it makes everything so much harder and much more complicated.

No amount of love from Mom, Dad, or any of the family has persuaded you to clean up. After becoming a parent myself, I began to understand why Mom & Dad have done so much for you and they still continue to do so. Unfortunately, in this situation I think the best love for you is tough love. Which is easier said than done. There is a difference between simply loving someone and enabling them, but its not an easily defined area. I want to offer so much to help. You need a place to stay while you get back on your feet? I have no problem, but when you stay for months, not look for a job, do illegal things and ask me to watch your kid anytime you decide to go out on a date (and by the way how are you paying for this date if you don't have a job or money to pay rent at a place of your own?)....see what I mean? How do I love you and help you without enabling you to make the same poor decisions that got you here in the first place?

When people ask me how old you are, I really want to say 14. That is about the last time I remember you being sober. Its before life at home got so complicated. I want to go back to that kid when he was 14 and just shake him, warn him, do something to prevent all the bad things that have happened since that age. I think that is why when I see a young teen boy, I see you. I want to see my brother before his eyes were clouded and bloodshot. When he wasn't edgy, anxious, and jittery. When he was honest. Man, I think I miss that the most, knowing when you were telling the truth.

The last time I saw you, you gave me a glimmer of hope. You stayed for me, you stayed for your daughter. I am going to hold onto that for as long as I can. I am hoping that you will allow the person that I know you are capable of being break through this addiction. 

Taking a hot chocolate break at the ski hill



Friday, January 11, 2013

Guest Room Update!

Since my husband and toddler took over my bed for the night (their snoring could be measured by the Richter Scale!), I will be sleeping in our extra room. Then I remembered I forgot to share a project with ya'll! Right before the holidays, I finally made a duvet cover for our spare bedroom.

Pretty sweet, huh?

And you will NEVER guess what I made it out of.

Okay....maybe you will guess, especially if you have read this post.

This lovely duvet cover was made from 2 queen size flat sheets from WalMart! 

For the last few months, I have been searching unsuccessfully for a white duvet cover that wouldn't cost me an arm and a leg. I mean, come on, its for the guest room. I didn't want the most expensive bedding to be in the room that rarely gets used!

So I decided to make it myself! It was pretty easy, I simply sewed 2 flat sheets together. First, I pinned the wrong sides together but only along 3 edges. Then I sewed those edges closed. I used buttons all along the bottom edge to fasten the cover closed. I also sewed ribbon tie tabs in the top corners (so you can tie the duvet to the cover so the duvet doesn't slide around inside the cover, this also means I had to sew ribbon tie tabs to the duvet itself). 

If I were to make this for my master bed, I would've sewn the bottom edge partially closed too instead of leaving it totally unsewn. I would leave about a 24 in gap to add buttons to close the cover. I would only add in this additional step because the cover would be used more often and it would allow me to add in 2 more tie tabs to the bottom corners.

Close up of the buttons on the bottom edge of the duvet cover
I even found the buttons at WalMart too :)

I am so pleased with how it turned out. I would never be able to keep a white comforter clean in my master bedroom because of the cats and the toddler oh and my husband...but it looks lovely in the guest room.

While I was shopping for flat sheets at Wally World, I picked up one more in navy to make another set of Ruffle Sheet Curtains

I love how this looks. Plus, my room is sooo dark now. 

So if anyone is counting, I have made a duvet cover and ruffle curtains from flat sheets at WalMart. I wonder what else I can make.....


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Extreme Couponing?

If you follow me on Facebook, then you know I like to share deals. I was talking with a friend last week and she told us that when she goes to the commissary, she spends about $50 every two weeks by couponing. I am pretty sure my jaw dropped because I could not fathom how she feeds a family of 3 for that little. She started explaining how she coupons, she even had a small audience of other ladies asking questions. She directed us to this blog, The Krazy Coupon Lady, and told us to read the beginners guide. 

Now I have been couponing, but it hasn't been very extreme. I clip coupons from the Sunday paper and print them from the internet, but only for items (and brands) I use. Then I just made sure to use the coupons at the commissary before they expired. I would save as much as $20 a visit, but I was still spending at least $200 for my family of 3. 

Apparently I am doing it wrong. 

So I read through the beginners guide, made my binder, and printed out my shopping lists. My first stop was Walgreens. I went on Monday, I spent $24 but I saved 48%. My mind was blown. Just by using coupons on sale items, I came out with some amazing deals. And it was deals on stuff that I use! I ended up with 3 Digiorno pizzas, 2 creamers, laundry detergent, 2 18 packs of hair ties, 2 containers of almonds, 2 packages of turkey bacon, and 3 12 packs of soda.

Today I ventured out super early to Farm Fresh with my couponing jedi-master because on Wednesdays they double coupons up to $1.00. I had my grocery list of match-ups and my binder in tow. We spent about an hour there, I spent $38 and saved 44%! She did better than I did, she saved over 50%. She even shared a few of her coupons with me :)  I was pretty excited because I walked away with a few free items, I had no clue you could actually legitimately get groceries for free! 

I don't plan on becoming one of those extreme couponers. I don't have room in this rental to have a massive stockpile. I am specific on certain items I will use. For example, I will not compromise on my toilet paper or cat litter. I am brand loyal on those. Also certain cleaning supplies. But I am also having a more open mind about certain items. I still want to eat healthy, but having frozen pizzas or hamburger helper around for those nights when you get home and have like no time to make dinner. So instead of spending the money on fast food, I have options at home. 

One of the things I have learned is you have to shop at different stores to get the most out of your coupon matchups. I am lucky, I am a stay at home mother and my daughter has no problem hopping in & out of the car at 3 different stores. I have the time to shop at 2 or 3 different places in a week. All the stores are in close proximity so its not like I'm spending that much extra money on gas. I know alot of people don't have the opportunity to go to multiple stores each week. They have jobs, a busy schedule with their kids, etc. Since I am in the position to shop around, I owe it to my savings account to do it!

My plan for the money we save is......umm well, save it. We will be getting out of the military in 1 year, 3 months, and 8 days (not that I'm counting at all) and who knows where we will be. While we do have some money put away, it would be nice to keep adding to that fund. I am going to keep a spreadsheet throughout the year so I can see how much I've saved!

If you are interested in couponing, definitely check out the beginners guide over at The Krazy Coupon Lady. She has lots of tips, videos, and free downloads to make your own binder. 


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Resolution Rant

You gotta love the beginning of the year: NFL playoffs, BCS Championship Game, packed gyms because everyone is still sticking to their New Years Resolution...

Speaking of working out, I had to park like waaay in the back of the parking lot at the gym tonight. Can we just skip ahead 2 months so I can get back to parking up front? I go to the gym to workout, I don't want a workout heading to the gym HAH! 

I have a few words of advice for those of you that decided to become gym rats for the New Year, advice that is both encouraging and catty:

It is going to hurt. For a long. Long. Time. That is how you know you are doing it right. Don't let that keep you from the gym because when you decide you want to start working out again, it will hurt just the same. Just get past the first few weeks of soreness and you will feel much better. 

Just because you workout doesn't mean you can eat crap. Unless you are like in the 18-23 age range with no kids. Those years are when you have the most amazing metabolism and you can eat & drink whatever you want and not gain an ounce. But if you are hitting the gym, you obviously don't fall into that category so you will need to supplement your workouts with a good diet. Have you ever heard the saying that abs are made in the kitchen? Its true, I swear it on my daughters life (see how serious I am?!). If you feed your body crap, your workouts will be crap. You need to feed your body the right amount of food (don't starve yourselves) and the right kinds of food. Need a place to start? Keep a food diary. They have tons of apps out there, my fave is Lose It! You can set goals, enter in your meals even customize them, and add in you workouts. There are lots of diets and meal plans out there, research them to find one that works for you. 

Now for the catty part...when you buy gym clothes there are a few important things to keep in mind. Please please please PLEASE make sure your black yoga pants are not see through. So when you buy those new gym pants, keep the tags on. Bring them home, and try them on with the brightest color granny panties you have. Then in a brightly lit room in the safety of your home, bend over in front of your mirror. Your best friend. Your husband. Your 3 year old daughter....and ask them, "What color panties do I have on?". 

Another note on the panties, what is the point of wearing thongs to the gym? How in the hell is that comfortable?? Maybe that is why people quit going to the gym...People you can go commando under your crop pants for an hour while you are at the gym. Your gyno might agree with me!

The point of a sports bra is to keep those puppies locked in place during exercise. Do you know that Victoria's Secret makes a PUSHUP sports bra?? You have got to be frickin kidding me. If you are wearing one of those to the gym, I hope your boobs slap you in the face while you are running or doing jumping jacks. That is just ridiculous. Maybe if I was a single gal or one of those scandalous military wives I would be concerned about how perky my boobs are at the gym. Honestly folks if you are that worried about how you look while you are at the gym, how can you be concentrating that hard on your workout?

I am probably just bitter because I have no boobs. 

Lastly, if you are going to take up space in a packed gym class then at least put forth a half ass effort. I don't get it, why show up if you are just going to smack your gum and do the exercises whenever or however you feel like it? I understand if you are new to the class and are just learning, so I'm not talking about you guys! You peeps are actually trying. What I am talking about are the people that are busy chatting with their friend, smacking their gum, and putting forth zero effort. That is just annoying to me. I bet that person got one of the parking spots right in front of the gym too....

By no means am I trying to discourage anyone from keeping their New Years resolution. I just wanted to give a few friendly bits of clothing advice and vent about having to park a whole 4 rows back from the front of the gym....

In all honesty, if you have any questions about how I lost my weight and how I'm keeping it off I will gladly answer them! Just message me on here or on my Facebook page. I know its hard to go to the gym when you are overweight and self conscious. But I find the gym to be the one place where I can wear baggy clothes, no makeup, and get sweaty without being judged. Maybe its where I workout, maybe its because when I go to the gym its about ME and not about anyone else. 

Just remember, all the people at the gym have the same goal: Get Healthy and Stay that Way!